Alright, now we are finally getting to the good stuff. Spectacle fighters are rare to come by, and I was honestly starving for a new one. This is what made me gravitate towards a hack-and-slash title for our first Steam Next Fest coverage.
While I was disappointed at how shallow Eternights was, I am still trying to find the words to describe how good En Garde! is. En Garde! is a third-person spectacle fighter where we play as Adalia de Volador, a swashbuckler who fights for the people.
The game takes a very stylish approach to its storytelling, with very exaggerated characters and an almost fairy tale-like way of conveying its plot. Adalia is tasked with passing the trials imposed by El Vigilante, who is just Adalia’s brother in a musketeer outfit.
Despite seeing right through his disguise, Adalia decides to play along. El Vigilante’s trials mostly serve as the tutorial for the game, and they help introduce us to the many combat mechanics present in En Garde!
Adalia’s way of fighting reflects how a duelist would need to act when surrounded by multiple people. While she excels at one-on-one combat, she needs to be resourceful when dealing with multiple enemies, and this includes kicking them from ledges, throwing buckets on their heads, or making weapon racks fall on top of them.
En Garde is honestly the gold standard for what a spectacle fighter should be; both the animations and sound effects give a lot of weight to the combat, and everything is flashy and detailed but also visually coherent.
Combat mostly centers around breaking the guard of your enemies and exhausting their stamina, which can be done by parrying their swings. Adalia is extremely agile and quick on her feet; she has contextual animations for every situation and interaction, which makes for some gorgeous combat when everything is in motion.
During El Vigilante’s trials, Adalia defeats a sizeable number of the Duke’s henchmen. The Duke is constantly mentioned as a tyrannical figure who has completely outlawed dueling as well as everything else he sees fit.
The game’s dialogue is very comedic, enemies will complain on the ground after being defeated, and Adalia herself has a lot of contextual dialogue and quips of her own. Adalia is a really charming character, and she usually aims right at her opponent’s egos, even claiming she fights with her non-dominant hand.
En Garde! is an amazing love letter to the flamboyant duelist character archetypes and swashbucklers. The funny dialogue, colorful art style, and extremely tight gameplay will make for a spectacle nobody should miss.
I have nothing but good things to say about this game, and I hope I can review it in the future. It’s very easy to see the care and work that went into this title.
En Garde! is set to come out in August of 2023, for Microsoft Windows (through Steam).
If you want to know more about some upcoming games, take a look at some of the other titles we covered from this year’s Steam Next Fest.